Ed Koehl's Packer Draft Contest Picks

Ed KoehlContributor IApril 16, 2009

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 5:  B.J. Raji #90 and Brian Toal of the Boston College Eagles talk after giving up a field goal to the North Carolina Tar Heels during an Atlantic Coast Conference game on November 5, 2005 at Kenan Stadium in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. North Carolina defeated Boston College 16-14.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The first player selected by the Packers in the 2009 NFL draft will be B.J. Raji, DT, Boston College

Reasons and Explanation

The Packers fall into a good pick given how their needs match-up with the top of the board. They could potentially choose between OTs Andre Smith and Michael Oher, DT B.J. Raji, and DE/OLBs Brian Orakpo and Aaron Maybin.

With options, plus other "fills" (LB Brian Cushing, DE/OLB Everette Brown, DT Peria Jerry) who should be available later, don't be surprised if Ted Thompson trades down. In the end, the talent available here should be too much for Thompson to pass on.

Smith, Raji, and Orakpo are the top talents at positions of need. OT is the position of greatest talent at the top, but there is decent depth that should be around later.

DE/OLB is strong at the middle of the first and into the top of the second, with potential sleepers later on (NFL 3-4 LBs tend to go later), plus the Packers have serviceable LB depth. DT though falls off after Raji and Jerry. Some might not rank Raji as high, but his ability compared to the other DTs in the draft, plus a lack of depth on the line should force Ted's hand.

The second player selected by the Packers in the 2009 NFL draft will be Jamon Meredith, OT, South Carolina.

Reasons and Explanation

While Thompson may land a DE/OLB here (Larry English, Paul Kruger), the opportunity to find a sleeper will be there later. If teams come calling, Thompson should look to move this pick to get something lower in the second where he can pick up an OT.

At that point, it comes down to how far Thompson thinks he can go while still being able to get one of his guys. William Beatty and Phil Loadholt should still be there, but Meredith's versatility, polish, character, and SEC-background wins out.

Tie-Breaker Questions

Will the Packers make a draft-day trade involving their first-round No. 9 pick? No

Will the Packers third selection be an offensive or defensive player?  Defense

Will the Packers use any of their draft choices (day one or two) to take a punter? No

Additional Comments

The Packers are in a position to get back on the plus side of .500 in 2009. Thompson may make trades to stockpile picks, but he should realize the talent available trumps quantity at most spots.

The Packers are still a relatively young team, but Thompson should realize that a few positions are a couple seasons from losing key contributors which creates a win-now attitude. The 2009 Packers need to take advantage of their talent and schedule. As such, Thompson should look to take chance out of the equation come draft day.